Delhi High Court has directed the city government to ensure free food and medical treatment to HIV-positive persons living below the poverty line and strictly comply with the law dealing with the affected patients' grievances.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma observed that several rehabilitative schemes and measures, including affordable treatment, had been put in place by the Delhi government to provide aid and assistance to HIV-positive patients and it was ensuring strict compliance under the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017.
"It is abundantly evident that the GNCTD is ensuring strict compliance under the statutory provisions of the 2017 Act. Further, the GNCTD has taken all possible steps to ensure that affordable treatment is available to individuals afflicted with HIV/AIDS, who do not possess the financial wherewithal to do so," the bench also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad said in an order.
"This court finds it apposite to mention that the government shall ensure strict compliance of the statutory provisions under the 2017 Act, read with its rules made thereunder. The government is also directed to ensure free food and medical treatment to HIV-positive persons who are below the poverty line and hence, are unable to afford the same," it added.
The court's order was passed on a petition by persons suffering from HIV/AIDS and other multiple disabilities and ailments and had been abandoned by their families and were without shelter.
The court opined that no further orders were required on the petition and disposed of the case in view of the steps taken by the authorities.
The petitioners sought several directions to the Delhi government and the Centre to provide housing, food, medical assistance etc to HIV/AIDS survivors.
The Delhi government submitted that the National AIDS Control Programme was being implemented in the capital since 1998 by the Delhi State AIDS Society under the technical and financial support of the Centre's National AIDS Control Organization.
Noting that the 2017 Act "has been implemented across the country with effect from 10.09.2018 to establish a robust system to deal with grievances of affected persons", the court recorded that the Delhi government had framed the relevant rules and appointed the district magistrate as Ombudsman.
The court also recorded that there were schemes targeted towards providing free Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) to the patients and financial assistance as well as a travel concession to attend the ART centres. The scheme had 20 enrolled beneficiaries and 429 applications are under process.
The Ministry of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation said that under its Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, it aimed to provide housing and basic services to the urban poor and slum dwellers in certain cities but it did not have a specific scheme targeted towards rehabilitating HIV/AIDS positive persons.
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